While adult Renegades are putting their house in order for their upcoming Germany showing, junior Renegades (RYSO) – reigning Junior Pan Ensemble Under-19 north-zone music festival preliminary winner – is again busy rehearsing, this time, enhancing their preliminary product for their Championship performance.

   Lorraine Granderson, the music festival’s north regional committee member, said this year’s festival competition format was changed a bit to adopt a hybrid format.

   RYSO’s manager, arranger, classical musical director and conductor Andrew Charles, captain Toccara Johnson and president of the overarching bp Renegades body, Colin Greaves, took RYSO through a rigorous preliminary-rehearsal period to ensure everything was satisfactory.

   Since results, they have been sharpening edges, and apart from the pannists, parents are cognizant that it’s a combination of music, focus, discipline and resilience.

  RYSO’s tune is an excerpt from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Summer, arranged and directed by Charles.

Out of approximately 100 Classes, RYSO earned 90 points for their Class, Jr-E6, and automatically advanced to the finals like other such winners.

   According to Greaves, entering the children in the competition served as part of their holistic development as musicians, and despite them having not known what to expect, they were ready for the challenge. It was also their first time working with a conductor.

President of bp Renegades, Colin Greaves.

  Greaves highly commended Charles for the amazing work he’s doing with the Youth Orchestra, himself having come through the ranks from junior player to classical arranger.

Also coming in for high praise was the captain, Toccara Johnson, for her sterling leadership of the team.

   Inspired by what he witnessed at the preliminary round, Founder and CEO of TruMeiD Trust Inc Jeston Lett said on social media: “Youths! Wow!! What I witnessed today at the T&T music festival was a masterclass in the highest level of musicianship I’ve seen in pannist in years.

  “The precision, control, balance, dexterity, and overall technique showed that this youth orchestra can give the big boys some pointers. I hope this piece gets recorded.”
(Fb: Feb 27)


The Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival celebrates 78 years this year, and it’s established to “nurture musical excellence in T&T,” said the Association’s bio.

  “Over the years, several participants have advanced to creating a name for themselves internationally.”

   For the Championship, there will be approximately 300 competitors. As RYSO is the north-region winner, they will compete against Tobago and South-region winners for a trophy.

RYSO's captain Toccara Johnson

RYSO performing at Music Festival 2024 preliminary round at Queen's Hall.

RYSO's manager/classical arranger/director/conductor Andrew Charles

RYSO engaged in Music Festival 2024 rehearsals at bp Renegades stage side location, 71 Oxford Street, POS, directed by their classical arranger Andrew Charles.

On March 11-12, competition will be held at Naparima Bowl, and at Queen’s Hall thereafter. The 15 is a rest day, and the 16, there will be a competition called the Junior Finale where winners from the Championship will vie for Adjudicators’ Trophies.

  For finals, RYSO will again face adjudicators Nadine Gonzales, Withnold Green, Lenor Syder, Anthony Williams, Nubia Williams and chief Dr Richard Tang Yuk.

  Criteria: Proficiency 40 points, Interpretation 40, and Balance 20.

  Another first for this year’s festival is the adjudicator panel. Adjudicators will answer questions posed by students, teachers or parents.

  RYSO is scheduled to perform on Wednesday March 13, between 9 and 10:30 am.

  The festival closes on the 17 at 5pm at Queen’s Hall, where outstanding artistes will be included as guest artistes.

  Open to the public, admission is $40 for children and $75 for adults,

and the closing ceremony, $150 tickets are available at Queen’s Hall and Naparima Bowl box offices.


To follow RYSO on social media: bp Renegades Steel Orchestra


For Music Festival information: 

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 Social media: ttmusicfestival